Evaluating Kolb's performance
How did Kevin Kolb perform in his second preseason game as the Eagles' starting quarterback? Here's a look at all 17 of his pass attempts against the Bengals.
Evaluating Kolb's performance
Kevin Kolb went 11-for-17 for 126 yards against the Bengals.
For the second straight game, he failed to throw a touchdown, but also avoided throwing an interception. Through two preseason games, Kolb is 17-for-28 for 221 yards.
I took a look back at all 17 of his throws against Cincinnati, and once again, detailed what I saw in the space below.
But here are some things that stood out overall.
1. There was very little opportunity for receivers to pick up yards after the catch in this one. Not necessarily because of Kolb's throws, but probably more because of the calls, protection and timing.
2. Kolb threw six incompletions. But really, there was only one throw (you could argue a second) where he misfired to an open receiver. Of course, that throw was big, as it was the ball to Jason Avant in the end zone that could have been a touchdown. The others were either bad decisions (throwing to crowded areas/covered receivers) or other circumstances, like when he threw the ball away, or when Leonard Weaver dropped a pass that would have resulted in a loss if completed.
3. Michael Vick came into the game in the third quarter and scrambled for 13 yards on a 1st-and-10. Kolb re-entered the game and threw three straight incompletions, including the miss to Avant. Coincidence? I'm not sure. Marty Mornhinweg admitted last week that disrupting Kolb's rhythm could be an issue, but he thought the Eagles' starting quarterback would be OK. Something to keep an eye on for sure when the Eagles shuffle Vick in and out with the first unit.
4. Kolb has been extremely impressive throwing on the run. When he's had to scramble or roll out, he's been on the money with his passes. On the flip side, he definitely had some happy feet (and admitted as much in the in-game TV interview), where he moved out of the pocket even though there was not a lot of pressure. It's understandable, considering how the offensive line played at times, but something he will have to get a good feel for. In other instances, he showed that he has no reservations about standing in the pocket, releasing the ball and taking a hit.
Here's the breakdown of all 17 passes:
Throw 1: On the first play of the game, Stacy Andrews was bowled over by Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, who got a good shot in on Kolb just as he released the ball. Kolb, working out of the shotgun, took a shot deep to DeSean Jackson, as the Eagles were backed up at their own 7-yard line. The Bengals had two DBs near Jackson, and the pass (which traveled about 38 yards) was incomplete. I have no problem with Kolb taking a chance deep here.
Throw 2: On the very next play, Kolb felt some pressure from the Bengals' left defensive end. It looked like LeSean McCoy didn't get a very good chip on the play. Once again out of the shotgun, Kolb stepped up, rolled to his right and made a good throw to McCoy, who was pushed out of bounds 1 yard short of the first down marker. Good job to avoid pressure and make a strong, accurate throw to the sideline.
Throw 3: Kolb took a short drop in the shotgun and hit Jeremy Maclin's outside shoulder for a gain of 6. Nice, high-percentage throw on first down.
Throw 4: This was one of the throws I mentioned earlier where Kolb stayed in the pocket, got rid of the ball just in time and took a hit. We saw him do this in the two starts last season. Lined up under center, Kolb took a short drop and hit Jackson for 7 yards over the middle on 2nd-and-8. Linebacker Rey Maualuga came untouched from Kolb's blind side and got a hit on him.
Throw 5: Kolb lined up under center and drew the defense offsides on 3rd-and-1. The Eagles were lined up with two running backs, two receivers and a tight end. It looked like the Bengals safety was responsible for Leonard Weaaver if he went out into his route, but when Weaver stayed in to block, the safety blitzed Kolb. Kolb sensed it from his left side and rolled to his right immediately, bought some time and hit Jackson for an 18-yard gain. Good recognition, good athleticism and good throw.
Throw 6: This was probably one of those where Kolb could have stayed in the pocket longer. The Eagles ran play-action and Kolb rolled to his right immediately. Winston Justice had the left defensive end blocked upfield, but when Kolb rolled out, the pressure was in his face. Kolb flung it to Weaver, who was behind the line of scrimmage and looked like he wisely might have dropped the ball on purpose.
Throw 7: The Eagles faced a 3rd-and-9, and it looked like Kolb might have changed the play at the line of scrimmage. Lined up in the shotgun, he hit Maclin on a wide receiver screen to his left. QBs sometimes struggle with this throw. It's important to get the receiver the ball quickly and in a place where he can immediately turn upfield. Kolb did that. Maclin fought to get to the first-down marker, but ended up fumbling and turning the ball over.
Throw 8: Not much to this one. A screen to Weaver that went for 8 yards on 2nd-and-12.
Throw 9: Another one where it looked like Kolb felt more pressure than was really there. On 3rd-and-4, he backpedaled frantically until he was about 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage. At that point, he threw off his back foot and hit Maclin, who was at the line of scrimmage. This was the play where Maclin got injured and was short of the first down.
Throw 10: Maybe his most impressive throw of the night. The protection was good on this one. Kolb lined up in the shotgun on 2nd-and-13 from the Eagles' 20. He couldn't find a receiver and scrambled to his right, before making a terrific throw to Jackson down the near sideline for 28 yards. Good job by Jackson to keep working after he was covered on his initial route.
Throw 11: Kolb had to throw the ball away here. He ran play-action but had Bengals defenders in his face immediately and had to sling it out of bounds, taking a hit as he released the ball.
Throw 12: This was the miss to Avant. The Eagles had a 2nd-and-10 from the Cincinnati 22. They went with one running back and four wide receivers out of the shotgun. Kolb overthrew Avant in the end zone, or the Eagles would have had six. On the replay, it looked like Riley Cooper was wide open, but that could have just been because the safety started moving towards Avant once the ball was in the air. Good protection, bad throw.
Throw 13: Probably his worst decision and worst throw of the night. Kolb had time, but couldn't find anyone. He ended up trying to force the ball into Jackson near the goal line. Jackson had three defenders around him, and the ball went right through the hands of one of the defensive backs. Could have easily been an INT.
Throw 14: With under two minutes left in the first half, the Eagles had a 1st-and-10 from the Bengals' 42-yard line. Kolb lined up under center, joined by two running backs, two wide receivers and a tight end. He ran play-action and made a good, patient throw to Jackson 21 yards downfield. Jackson ran out of bounds, stopping the clock.
Throw 15: Another good job on the very next play. This time from the shotgun, Kolb found Brent Celek over the middle for 14 yards. It was the only time he targeted Celek all night, setting up the Eagles with a 1st-and-goal from the Bengals' 7-yard line.
Throw 16: One more time when I thought Kolb probably moved out of the pocket before he needed to. With a 2nd-and-goal from the Cincinnati 7, he rolled to his right and looked for Jackson near the goal line. The throw was off-target, and Kolb threw into a crowded area for an incompletion.
Throw 17: Tough spot for the Eagles: 3rd-and-goal from the Bengals' 12 after a penalty. Kolb gave a shoulder fake before settling on a 5-yard completion to Avant. I know some ask why he wouldn't throw it in the end zone, but there was likely no one even close to being open. It's actually a good move to settle on the short gain and kick the field goal. The key here was the penalty that put them in such a bad position in the first place.
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